Okay, the main focus of 1389 Blog is the counterjihad.
Historically, the branch of Christianity that has most been confronted with Islam is the Holy Orthodox Church. Our blog does tend to promote Orthodoxy more so than other Christian confessions of faith. Our admins and some team members are Orthodox, too. However, we welcome the support of all those who struggle against the Islamic jihad. This often makes “strange bedfellows.”
Unfortunately, some people do have an agenda.
My apologies to all Roman Catholics who do not approve this nefarious practice that seems to be happening in your church. We love you and actually seek your support in bring this practice to a close.
It all started when I met an old friend from high school who did the marry-a-Roman-Catholic-and-covert-to-her-church thing. For centuries, this has been their major path to conversion, and it is still done. He made this fairly provocative statement to me: “I think our two churches should just merge.”
I took it with a grain of salt. He was a convert, a smart man, yes, but still a convert. How could he know how far apart the Roman and Orthodox churches have been for the past millenium or so? To reconcile, either the Romans would have to give up on the concept of the Papacy or every member of the second largest Christian organization in the world, with some 13% of all Christians, at least 250 million strong, would need to decide that having an infallible Pope was a good idea after all. The latter could not possibly happen. The former would involve a sitting Pope to get up and say, “Just kidding” and perhaps add, “and we have been kidding for over 1,000 years now.” Thus, unless and until we get a Pope who does not think there should be a Pope as we have known one for over 1,000 years, it will not happen.
Then I met another Roman Catholic who had recently converted for no apparent reason. I felt like asking, “So, she left you even after you converted to her religion?” But I held my tongue. I know that these matters of the heart can be difficult to understand. Darn, if he didn’t have the same idea as my friend from high school. “We should become one Church,” he said. He reminded me that our Protestant friends did not understand how “we feel about Sacraments.” I resisted the urge to tell him how very differently Orthodox Christian feel about each and every Sacrament that Rome has, that we might consider additional things Sacraments, and that we have no set number as they do.
So, I laughed it all off as innocent comments by pious Roman Catholic converts. True, we pray for a type of unity in the Orthodox faith. However, that unity would be completely incapable with merging with the Roman faith.
Then I heard it again. “Hey, since you’re Orthodox, don’t you think we should have one church?” Standing ready, I asked, “Are you a convert?” I was wrong. In fact, this guy was a former seminarian who had been considering the priesthood. Gulp! So I figured that if this guy had washed out of priest school, maybe he never learned what Orthodoxy and Roman Catholic were all about.
This keeps happening. Why?
For those of you who do not know, I spend a lot of time keeping up on the Christian world. Whether it is a debate about the value of the King James Bible, or Calvinists v. Arminians, I am on it. The major focus is to see how all of these facets of Christianity might relate to the battle against Islam. There is a good argument that many non-Orthodox Christian practices do go back to Islam. Jihad has been around for a long time. For that and other reasons, keeping up on the Roman Church is a regular part of my M.O.
In my travels, I came across a very provocative statement from a fellow Orthodox Christian: The Roman Catholics are scared to death of us. Protestants don’t bother them a bit. But we have everything that Rome uses to claim superiority to the Protestants.
Think it through. Protestants reject the concept of Apostolic tradition passed down via Apostolic succession, so they resort to finding a Bible passage or two when they need guidance on a particular issue. But they cannot agree on what those Bible passages mean, or which ones to pick, so we have thousands of denominations. Fast-talking Roman Catholic apologists tell them that they have a great pipeline back to time of the Apostles. So they have two choices: buy the whole Roman package or find their own answer in the Bible. We are talking eternal salvation here, so that makes Rome’s package a little more attractive.
While Protestants have their own traditions, they hate to say that word. Roman proudly proclaims they have tradition. They offer clear traditions that guide them through Scripture and even more. Again, the choice is figuring it our yourself, or buy the whole Roman package.
Well, this has worked out pretty well for Rome for years. Sure, they lost people to the Protestants. However, in the west, only Rome seemed to offer certainty. Some Protestants just drifted back to Rome. Other people lost their faith completely; Rome and the Protestants have equal chances at picking up the pieces. Protestants evangelized, but Rome had orphanages. Rome had schools. Rome had that hard-line marriage ultimatum: convert to Roman Catholicism or agree to have your children raised in our faith – or find a new marriage partner.
Monopolies are great! There is no competition. The Orthodox Church was this irrelevant bunch of people who spoke a foreign language and who never bothered to try to spread their faith anyway.
The Ancient Faith has become the “new kid on the block”
Then came the 1980s! Ethnic Orthodox Christians who had been born here and who spoke English as a native language were a visible presence. English-language materials about the Orthodox Church became available. Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Church starts ordaining Protestant ministers as Orthodox priests. Now there is a new kid on the block and he is working Rome’s side of the street.
The whole game changed. “Tradition” no longer implied Roman Catholic. They can talk as long as they like about the importance of Sacraments and Orthodoxy provides the same goods, at a much better price. Apostolic succession exists in Roman Catholicism, but it sure plays better in Orthodoxy. Who cares if can trace your ordination back if you are not saying the same things that the original Bishop was saying? There are just too many changes and innovations in Roman Catholicism to make Apostolic succession anything but an empty concept.
Of course, there is that papacy. If you add to the concept of an earthly head to church, the idea that–even under rare circumstances–some human being could be “infallible,” you have a real problem. (I was raised in the pre-Vatican II Roman Church. I never for a second believed the Pope to be “infallible.”) God is perfect and, of course, infallible. There is something inherently UN-Christian about a man other than Jesus Christ being that Godlike. True, Rome teaches it and many of their people buy it. However, many cannot.
Now there is a new kid in town. The big bully must take notice.
We are sure that elements with the Roman Catholic Church have noticed this, and probably have noticed it for a long time. Rome is not known for taking anything lying down. When the Reformation dawned, Rome didn’t say, “OK, Martin, you do have a few good points, let’s sit down and discuss this. No, Rome started its own Counterreformation. Rome redoubled its efforts and got violent. The Protestants got violent in return, making the Reformation an ugly chapter in Western Christian history. (We didn’t have any reformations in Orthodoxy. We have the same faith that we always did.)
So, this is just a guess, but we think that Rome has a plan for combating the surge of Orthodoxy in Western Christian lands. Instead of ignoring Orthodoxy as Rome had done for so many years, embrace it. Co-op it. Worm your way into Orthodox Christianity, no matter how many lies and half-truths it takes.
First, they start by telling their new converts how close they are to the Orthodox Church. This is a very big lie. It will remain a big lie until Rome ends the doctrines of papal infallibility, Purgatory, original sin, the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and probably a hundred other doctrines, most of which those outside the Roman church have never even heard of. Yet, they combine this assertion of commonality with the accusation that we are wrong about things and need to be straightened out. They create the image that we are out there just waiting for their help.
Next, they spread the word slowly through the flock. As the Orthodox Church grows, becomes more popular and more noticed, and transitions into the English language, the question of ‘Who are these guys?’ keeps cropping up.
The typical Roman Catholic answer is the not-so-little and not-so-white lie that Orthodoxy and Romanism are almost the same thing.
Rome has more ways of attempting to make inroads on our faith. Perhaps your long-suffering, underpaid, and often under-appreciated Orthodox priest may receive an attractive offer to drag your whole congregation to Rome. We know Rome has the money! Look how they pay up whenever their homosexual priests are outed.
Or they might bribe or otherwise persuade a few Orthodox Christians with high media appeal to “convert” to Rome and to use that conversion in their media. In the US and the rest of the Anglosphere, they can reach the immense, ready-made English-speaking Roman Catholic audience, an audience that vastly outnumbers the Orthodox Christians who are native speakers of English. In addition, the Roman Catholic Church can use its wealth and influence to give them a head start. Remember that the Roman Church has its own country. It holds treasure beyond your wildest imagination. It could buy most anyone who is for sale.
My time spent following the Church world has paid off in this venture, because evidence of such a Roman Catholic program of disinformation is really piling up.
At this point, the lie that Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy are close faiths, and might somehow merge, is found in several Roman Catholic extremist sites. Nasty Roman apologists silence anyone who challenges their falsehoods. No doubt, they profit financially from these activities.
Again, our apologies to our Roman Catholic friends who disapprove of these practices and have nothing to do with them. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do when you are a small part of a large organization. However, if you wouldn’t mind explaining to your fellow Roman Catholics that we do have very serious doctrinal issues and that it is not at all Christian to lie, or even to “stretch the truth.”